Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Letter from Venezuela - The Alba Summit


The Alba Summit

There was recently another Alba meeting in Bolivia.  The city where the summit was held was the birth place of the peoples uprising in Boliva. Cochibomba was where the indigenous first rose up against the privitized water system, which charged them an enornous amount of money just to drink their water.  The prices kept going up and up until it was impossible for poor, indigneous Bolivians to pay for water to even drink.  Furthermore, it was illegal to even try to capture rainwater to drink and have for daily usage.

One of the interesting things about the ALBA is that it was a direct response to the ALCA.  The ALCA was a neo-liberal plan which privitized everything, giving corporations the right to buy everything including a countries water. 

In direct contrast one of the decisions the group of ALBA countries was to put an emphasis on saving the earth.  This is direct contrast to the ALCA and the neo-liberal, globalization project that was sweeping the planet.  The theory behind neo-liberal globalization is, let the rich buy everything and exploit it for their own financial gain. This has brought about very dangerous consequences for all the planets inhabitants, because th rich dont really care about polluting the water, the air or even the greenhouse effects.  Their bottom line is to make a profit, even if it kills everyone on the planet.  So it was refreshing to hear that people are actually concerned about this place we call home, our earth, which we all share.

They also instituted a new money system which uses the Sucre.  This was thought of by Rafeal Correa, the President of Ecudar who is also an economist.  This is an exchange capital between theALBA nations in which they dont use the dollar as a means of exchange.  This lowers the price between the countries and makes it more feasible for them to exchange products easily.


I havent written in a while because Ive been doing some community work. Its been physical labor, but much needed labor. I find with the level of oppression in Venezuela, before the revolution, Venezuelans dont really know much about sanitation.  I was surprised when I came here and saw how dirty it was and how people would through their garbage onto the streets with disregard. I didnt understand it, then I realized they didnt have garbage pick-up services, so it was almost better to leave the garbage on the street, where the city didnt want the rich to see it and would sweep it up.  Now there are garbage pick up services.  We have a truck, that comes and picks up our garbage 4 times a week, but people still have a hard time breaking old habits.

The Fantasy

The rightwing here does things they would never get away with in the U.S.  First of all, they tell people a whole lot of fantasy about the U.S. The uneducated and informed rightwinger people in Venezuela really live in a fantasy world in regard to the U.S.

There is a woman I met who has a son. He was recruited by one of the major league teams in the U.S. as a new young recruit in their training program.  Its basically what U.S. baseball teams do here, they get the poor Latino baseball players and ship them up to their camps for training.

She told me she had some papers for health care, that were in English and that she wanted me to help her with.  She also told me it was a health care plan with this major league team, and that if anything happened to her in Venezuela she would be air lifted out of Venezuela, and flown to the U.S. for healthcare. She wouldnt have to bother with Venezuelan hospitals, no, she was going to the US. for healthcare.  So I thought, hey this is a really great healthplan with this team.

Then she told me, a representative told her that she would get first rate healthcare under this plan because her son was part of the training program for this major league team.  I couldnt wait to see these papers.  When I saw the papers, it was COBRA.  Now everyone in the U.S. knows COBRA is health insurance you pay for yourself, and it isnt that good.

She doesnt know there are close to 80 million people without healthcare in the U.S.  She doesnt know that in the U.S. they dont cover pre-existing conditions, she knows enough to indulge in fantasy.  I could not convince this woman that she wasnt going to be air lifted from Venezuela to the U.S. hospitals for healthcare under this plan.  But this is what many of the rightwing people really believe here. And the rightwing promotes this level of fantasy and ignorance.

The Smear Campaign

You are probably hearing a lot coming out of Venezuela.  Mainly from the rightwing. They are doing everything they can to get their hands on the wealth of Venezuela and they have stepped up their tactics.

One of their tactics is an international smear campaign. Because the government is planningto do more next year for the people with the oil and mineral wealth then had done this year.  Fourty-seven percent of the budget will go on social programs next year. 

Recently Venezuela discovered new Coltane and Gas reserves and that money will be spent on a massive housing and construction program next year, and the rightwing is pissed. They want the money to put into their banks, pockets and to buy private property. So now they are going international with a smear campaign to try to undermine the international communities perception of Chavez and the government.  So keep your eyes and ears open and for all of you who have been receiving my blogs, you have your information.



  1. This is very interesting especiacially the sustainable development moves being taken by ALBA grouping. I am currrently attending a trade justice conference for Southern Africa countries in Arusha, Tanzania and one of the issues we are grappling with is how best our developing or as it is least developed economies can create cross-border linkages to support each other and to offer alternative models to the current capitalism-led global trade as regulated under the Bretton Woods institutions and WTO autocracy which keeps impoverishing our economies. My only concern is though we are coming with really innovative strategies, our political leadership doesnt seem to share our enthuathism on this and hence the political will required to actualise this is missing. Still, we are the change we can be and whatever step each one of us takes, no matter how little, will go a long way in changing how our countries trade and take care of their poor populace.

    Felix Kyalo, Akiba Uhaki Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya.

  2. Да нечего бояться мужик, законом тебе мужик не запрещает покупать мужик недвижимость за бугром мужик :